Secretive Samson

Judges 14:8-14

8Some time later, when he went back to marry her, he turned aside to look at the lion’s carcass, and in it he saw a swarm of bees and some honey. 9He scooped out the honey with his hands and ate as he went along. When he rejoined his parents, he gave them some, and they too ate it. But he did not tell them that he had taken the honey from the lion’s carcass.

10Now his father went down to see the woman. And there Samson held a feast, as was customary for young men. 11When the people saw him, they chose thirty men to be his companions.

12“Let me tell you a riddle,” Samson said to them. “If you can give me the answer within the seven days of the feast, I will give you thirty linen garments and thirty sets of clothes. 13If you can’t tell me the answer, you must give me thirty linen garments and thirty sets of clothes.” “Tell us your riddle,” they said. “Let’s hear it.” 14He replied, “Out of the eater, something to eat; out of the strong, something sweet.” For three days they could not give the answer.

Introduction

There are many things we wish to know about God but He keep them secret if knowing isn’t helpful to our faith in Him. It’s not by logic or intellectuality but by faith that we believe in God. God would not let us know everything about His plan for us at a single time. He may explain them when we’re ready to know.

It says in Matthew 13:10-11, 10The disciples came to him and asked, “Why do you speak to the people in parables?” 11He replied, “Because the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them.

In 1 Corinthians 2:14, 14The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.

Manoah the father of Samson learned that God refrains from telling all things. When he asked the name of the angel of the Lord, the angel answered that his name is beyond understanding. There were many wonderful works of God human mind can’t explain that had been integrated in the life of Samson.

When Samson gave honey to his parents, he refrained from telling where he got the honey. Why? He kept it secret to protect his extraordinary strength. 

1. Refrain

8He turned aside to look at the lion’s carcass, and in it he saw a swarm of bees and some honey. 9He scooped out the honey with his hands and ate as he went along. When he rejoined his parents, he gave them some, and they too ate it. But he did not tell them that he had taken the honey from the lion’s carcass.

Samson defeated the lion. When he took the honey, he had to ward off the swarm of bees. His parents were surely glad to eat honey and wondered where the honey came from, but Samson refrained from telling them.

Theologians suggest that the honey represents sweetness of victory over strong and numerous enemies. To tell his parent about his secret would reveal his strength and courage. Samson was about to fight the Philistines, and nobody should know about what his ability. The lion and the bees were God’s preparation against the Philistines, who were strong like lion and numerous like bees.

Young David

Before the young David fought Goliath, he fought and defeated a lion and bear. Those encounters prepared and built his courage and confidence in the Lord when he faced and defeated Goliath.

It says in 1 Samuel 17:33-37, 33 Saul replied, “You are not able to go out against this Philistine and fight him; you are only a young man, and he has been a warrior from his youth.”

34But David said to Saul, “Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, 35I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. 36Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. 37The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.”

The Lord who empowered Samson when he killed the lion, defied the swarm of bees and defeated the Philistines is the same God who gave David strength when he killed the lion, the bear and the giant Goliath.

When God give mission projects He empowers and prepares His servant systematically. Actually, the troubles we face are series of training for greater mission assignment God has prepared for us. The manner we respond to life’s challenges determines the level of trust we have in Him as Lord and protector.

It reminds us in 1 Corinthians 10:13, 13No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

Samson was secretive about the lion, the swarm of bees and the honey. He refrained from telling others about his experience, including his parents to avoid any information that may reach the Philistines. The men who joined him find out how secretive Samson was when he told them a riddle.

2. Riddle

12“Let me tell you a riddle,” Samson said to them. “If you can give me the answer within the seven days of the feast, I will give you thirty linen garments and thirty sets of clothes. 13If you can’t tell me the answer, you must give me thirty linen garments and thirty sets of clothes.” “Tell us your riddle,” they said. “Let’s hear it.” 14He replied, “Out of the eater, something to eat; out of the strong, something sweet.” For three days they could not give the answer.

The 30 set of clothes and 30 linen garments could be very expensive at that time. The Philistines did not think twice when accepted Samson’s challenge. They assumed that he was just ordinary Israelite that they can victimize. They may have felt more superior to him, being an Israelite but they found out that he was not as easy victim as they assumed he was when they heard his riddle.

Superiority complex is prevalent. Better situation than others could test our faith in the Lord, on how we may live our lifestyle as believers. North American Christians are most privileged in terms of material things but not necessarily have superior spirituality than Christian from underdeveloped nations.

Christ warns us against Pharisaical righteousness in Luke 18:9-14:

9 To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: 10“Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.  11The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed:

‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ 13“But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ 14“I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

Did the Lord anticipate that we can also fall into Pharisaical righteousness so that He warns against confidence in our personal righteousness?

The lifestyle of Pharisees is the highest standard of righteousness that human can achieve but still falls short of the standard of God.

Pharisaical righteousness is now becoming a doctrine of some religious groups. Those groups teach that after a person accepted Christ as their personal Lord and Savior, the believer cannot commit sin anymore. And when the believer breaks the law, it’s considered crime not sin. Many are persuaded to believe such lie because their attractive programs thrill or excite their followers.

It says in 1 John 1:10, 10If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.

It’s true that no imperfection, no unholy can enter heaven. The hope we have to enter heaven one day implies that we will one day completely perfect when Christ comes again and gives us glorified body. In our present situation, we still commit sin which reveals that our perfection has not materialized just yet.

We may know a little but not everything about the mystery of God’s promise. Just think of imperfect believers will live in God’s perfect heaven.

By faith, not by intellectuality! By faith, we trust Christ as our Lord and Master to save and help us when we face many challenges that come our way.

The reward waiting for us is sweet like honey when by God’s grace, we overcome challenges He prepared for us, who keep trusting the Lord Jesus.

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